A bomb disposal team was called to an industrial estate over concerns an explosive device had been found.
Police cordoned off Beechings Way Industrial Centre at Twydall, Gillingham, at around 1.45pm.
A McDonald’s restaurant, Busy Bees nursery and the Will Adams medical centre were evacuated with customers, children and patients being told to leave urgently.
Up to 60 people were left outside the cordon, watching the police and army deal with the incident
A fire marshal from a nearby business told KentOnline a “nail bomb” had been discovered in the Cinch storage warehouse.
A policewoman at the scene said: “We’ve found something, nothing major but it’s just taken a while to evacuate the children. They’re the only ones left at the site now.”
Busy Bees’ youngsters were handed over to parents as the emergency operation continued in Godden Road.
One worker said: “I was just nipping out for my lunch break to get some petrol when police told me to stay away.”
A McDonald’s employee said: “Apparently there’s been a bomb scare but we don’t know anything else or when we can go back. It’s up by the storage units apparently.
“There must be about 30 staff and people in McDonald’s and up to 60 from the centre including patients.
The cordon was lifted around 2.30pm with everyone being allowed to go back inside the area with police saying it had been a false alarm.
A spokesman said: “We were called at 11.06am to a report of a possible unexploded device inside a building in Godden Way. Officers attended along with a Ministry of Defence bomb disposal team who found the item posed no danger.”